Jason Ironheart, Psi-Corps Level 10, has stolen a transport vessel but is being pursued. His pursuers order him to stop, but he ignores them. Suddenly, there is a strong explosion, and only one ship emerges: Ironheart's ship, headed toward Babylon 5.
On Babylon 5, Sinclair and Catherine Sakai, his girlfriend, have just woken up. Catherine explains that she's working on finalizing a contract with Universal Terraform, an important corporation from Earth.
Meanwhile, Ironheart has arrived on Babylon 5.
Talia Winters is having a conversation with a businessman from Universal Terraform who wants to use her services in an upcoming negotiation. They enter an elevator (turbolift?) which Garibaldi is also currently using. The businessman asks what it's like to be a telepath; Winters responds that it's often difficult to block out the thoughts around her--while casual thoughts are simple to ignore, strong emotions can somehow break through whatever mental barriers she can set up. Suddenly, she turns around at Garibaldi (who has been experiencing his own "strong emotions" while staring at Winters) and elbows him in the stomach.
Elsewhere on the station, Bester and Kelsey, two Level-12 "Psi-Cops," have just come aboard Babylon 5. They telepathically "ask" a minor official to bring them to Sinclair.
Catherine Sakai is meeting with the businessman from Universal Terraform--the businessman who has brought Winters along. The businessman is concerned with the confidentiality of the planet which Catherine wishes to survey (because the planet, known as Sigma-957, may have some deposits of Quantium-40, a material important to the construction of jumpgates)--and so, following orders from his superiors, he asks Sakai to promise not to mention the planet to anyone--not even Sinclair. He has brought Winters along to verify that Sakai is telling the truth when she says she will not tell anyone about the planet--and, indeed, Winters does confirm this. The businessman also notes that, since the planet in question is in a contested region of space, they need the consent of one other major party--in this case, G'Kar, representing the Narn, will give that consent and will collaborate concerning Sigma-957.
Bester and Kelsey arrive at Sinclair's office, and begin to have a telepathic conversation with him. Sinclair gets quite annoyed, telling them that he doesn't like people "rummaging around in my head." He questions them, asking about the rules governing such use of telepathic abilities. They tell him that they are psi-cops, and because of their important responsibilities, they are given a wider latitude than other telepaths. They tell Sinclair that they are on a mission to track down a rogue telepath--one who may be putting the Earth Alliance's military structure at tremendous risk. Sinclair is hesitant to offer assistance, but they insist that he hold a meeting with the station's resident telepath (Winters), as well as security and command personnel.
Bester and Kelsey consult Sinclair.
Ironheart is standing in his newly-rented quarters when he suddenly appears to get a terrible headache. He clutches his head, but is apparently unable to make the pain go away. Suddenly, the entire room starts shaking, almost as if to reflect his pain.
The meeting that Bester and Kelsey requested has begun. Winters, Ivanova, Garibaldi, and Sinclair are present. Bester asks Winters if she knows (or ever knew) Ironheart; she replies that Ironheart was her instructor in the Psi-Corps Training Academy. Kelsey explains that one year before, Ironheart had been reassigned to work on a covert operation with Earth Force Military Intelligence. Bester and Kelsey refuse, however, to explain the nature of his covert operation. They only say that what is in Ironheart's brain would compromise Earth Force's position and possibly lead to the deaths of covert operatives on other worlds; they believe that Ironheart wishes to sell this information to alien governments. They refuse to give any other information (particularly, they refuse to tell Sinclair what type of danger Ironheart poses to the station); they only Sinclair to find and bring back Ironheart ("Alive if possible; dead if necessary")--"We'll do the rest." The Psi-Cops asks Winters if she has had any contact with Ironheart; she replies that, since she left the academy, they have corresponded only through letters. The Psi-Cops, however, do not believe her--they order her to submit to a mental scan so that they can be sure of what she's saying. She cringes at the possibility, for mental scans can be quite painful--nonetheless, she is forced to comply. The scan is performed, and the Psi-Cops are surprised to find that Winters has been speaking the truth. "Surprising," says Kelsey, "given their prior involvement." The Psi-Cops then leave, ordering everyone (but especially Winters) not to speak with or approach Ironheart if he is found on the station.
A short time after Winters has left the meeting, Ironheart approaches her in dark corridor. She attempts to leave quickly, explaining that she was ordered not to see him. He says that he is aware of the Psi-Cops (and also that he was aware of their scan of her mind--which is why he waited until after the scan to contact her), and promises to simply explain the whole situation to Winters if she'll give him the chance.
Sakai, meanwhile, is quite annoyed at G'Kar's involvement with the mission at Sigma-957. He explains that he has involved himself only in order to protect Sakai--"Sigma-957 is not a healthy place. Strange things happen there." Sakai, however, doesn't believe him, and explains that she thinks he and the Narn just want Sigma-957 for themselves. He denies her suspicions, telling her that she shouldn't believe everything she's heard about G'Kar--"No one here is exactly what he appears," says G'Kar. "Not Mollari, Delenn, not Sinclair, and not me. My warning is sincere; ignore it at your own peril." She still, however, doesn't believe him, saying that she will, if necessary, "go over his head" and communicate with her own contacts in the Narn regime.
Ironheart, in Winters's quarters, explains that one year before, he volunteered for an ambitious Psi-Corps experiment--an experiment that, if successful, would greatly increase the powers of telepaths. He volunteered because he was told that the experiment was necessary for Earth Force Defense--each race wants to make sure that its telepaths are powerful enough. After months of the experiment, his telepathic abilities expanded beyond his belief--he could "cut through any block without even trying--all I had to do was to look at them." However, such development was a mixed blessing, because he finally realized the true purpose of the experiment: to develop "stable" telekinesis. Winters recalls the telekinesis tests she took at the academy--"I tried for days to make [a penny] move with my thoughts; I couldn't do it." He explains that only one in every thousand humans is telepathic; and only one out of every ten-thousand telepaths is telekinetic--but that half of these telekinetics are clinically insane. But the experiment was successful, says Ironheart, "It worked beyond anyone's wildest dreams."
Ironheart and Winters.
Garibaldi tells Sinclair that he has found something which might help him track down Ironheart: one of the ships which recently arrived at Babylon 5 was a stolen transport that came from Ironheart's previous location. Garibaldi says that he is checking the guest quarters on the station. He comments that he's working as quickly as possible--he doesn't like the idea of rogue telepaths or Psi-Cops on the station. "There's just something creepy about [Psi-Cops]," explains Garibaldi, "The way they look at you like you're some kind of bug." Just then, Bester arrives on the bridge, and Garibaldi leaves relatively quickly. Bester stares at Garibaldi as he's walking away and "replies," somewhat annoyed, "Anatomically impossible, Mr. Garibaldi, but you're welcome to try, any time, anywhere."
Meanwhile, Sakai is on her way to Sigma-957.
G'Kar is in his quarters, speaking on a secure channel with Narn Military Headquarters. He says he requires a well-armed heavy fighter for a mission to Sigma-957.
Ironheart, still in Winters's quarters, explains to Winters that at first, he thought that the Psi-Corps wanted telekinesis for "big jobs"--heavy construction in 0-G, telekinetic shields on ships. He explains that the Psi-Corps, however, wanted increased control of smaller objects--the smaller the better. If precise control over small objects were perfected, telekinetics could become the ideal assassins: "Murder without a trace. No fingerprints, no poisons." Suddenly, as he speaks, the room begins to shake again. He tells Winters to run--to leave the room quickly -- for he cannot control this side-effect of his new telekinetic powers. This time, however, it's not just his room that starts to shake--it's an entire section of Babylon 5.
Sinclair is walking with Bester and Kelsey when the vibrations reach him. The Psi-Cops immediately recognize the situation as a "mind-quake." When Sinclair finds Garibaldi, Garibaldi comments that he has pinpointed the source of the disturbance, but that the entire level of the station where the disturbance is coming from is blocked by some type of energy shield. Sinclair angrily mentions that, when he asked Bester what type of danger Ironheart represented, Bester replied that Sinclair didn't need to know. He calls a meeting with Bester and Kelsey.
Sinclair accuses the Psi-Cops of placing the station in danger by withholding information from Sinclair. They merely reply that they were following orders, but Sinclair dismisses that excuse. He confronts the Psi-Cops, ordering them to explain the precise danger that Ironheart poses. Bester only replies that Ironheart is no longer entirely "human"--other than that, the Psi-Corps doesn't know exactly what he is.
Ironheart is meanwhile sitting in the middle of the rubble caused by his telekinesis. He is trying, with some success, to calm his thoughts down and stop the accidental destruction.
At the meeting between Sinclair, Ivanova, Bester, and Kelsey, Bester explains the basics of Ironheart's experiment to Sinclair. Bester says that, toward the end of the experiment, Ironheart began to show signs of paranoia, stress, and psychosis. One night, Ironheart left his room, killed the head researcher of the experiment, and escaped. Kelsey comments that Ironheart's telekinetic abilities grew stronger and more violent as time progressed. Bester tells Sinclair that Ironheart, in his present state, is a valuable commodity--and the Psi-Corps cannot allow him to fall into the hands of any alien government. He adds that the Psi-Corps wanted to keep the whole incident quiet in order that alien governments not find out about Ironheart's abilities--this reason is why they withheld the information about Ironheart's condition. "It was a calculated risk," comments Bester. (Ivanova expresses her disgust with the way the Psi-Corps have no ethical problem with taking inhumane, calculated risks). Sinclair asks how the Psi-Cops plan to stop Ironheart if he is so powerful. They explain that, during the experiment, Ironheart was programmed with a "fail-safe code," which, when sent into his brain by a powerful telepath, has the ability to shut down Ironheart--to "put him to sleep"--but not kill him. Bester and Kelsey believe that, between the two of them, they will be able to overcome any defenses that Ironheart has set up--but they can only send the fail-safe code if Ironheart is in their line of sight.
Winters walks up to one of the shields that Ironheart has set up around the level of B5 which was shaken by his thoughts. She tries to speak with him--to shout to him through the shields. When he hears (or senses) her, he drops the shields for a moment so that she can pass through. When she finally arrives to where Jason is standing, he is glad to see her. He explains that he came to Babylon 5 in order to see her--that he felt that being with her would be enough to calm his thoughts, "shut out the voices," and rest "for a little while ... before the end." He admits that he shouldn't have come to the station--he has inadvertently put people at risk, though he didn't want to hurt anyone. He tells Winters what he has learned of the Psi-Corps--that, although people believe that the government controls the Corps, the reverse is coming to be true. "[The Psi-Corps is] more powerful than you can begin to imagine. Telepaths make the ultimate blackmailers, Talia. I've seen it all." He tells Winters that he is currently undergoing a tremendous change--and that he is no longer Jason Ironheart.
Sakai has finally arrived at Sigma-957. She enters into an orbit above the planet and beings to conduct environmental research. She laughs to herself about G'Kar's warnings concerning Sigma-957.
The Skydancer launches a probe.
Winters, after leaving Ironheart, finds Sinclair and tells him that she has seen Ironheart. She requests to speak with Sinclair privately; he agrees. When they are in private, she explains the situation to Sinclair. She tells Sinclair that Ironheart wants to see him. Sinclair asks what exactly was between Ironheart and her--why he came to this station. She explains that they had been lovers--and that Ironheart came to B5 to see Winters. "He was everything to me--the perfect model of what it meant to be in the Corps. Do you know what it's like when telepaths make love, commander? You drop every defense, and it's all mirrors.... It's a feeling so profound it makes you hurt. It's the only moment in a telepath's life when you no longer hear the voices. He came to say goodbye, commander."
Meanwhile, Sakai, at Sigma-957, suddenly sees something near Sigma-957. Neither she nor her computer can identify it, but her computer's power level is reduced drastically. Her orbit is decaying, and she will crash into the planet in less than two hours. She tries to open an emergency channel with Babylon 5, but there is not enough power to establish a link.
Sinclair and Winters arrive to where Ironheart is sitting. He greets Sinclair politely, but gets rights into the purpose of his discussion. "The Psi-Corps is dedicated to one thing, commander: control." He explains to Sinclair what he had previously explained to Winters. "But there is something even more powerful--something they didn't even know existed until I crossed the line. Not mind over matter, mind over energy.... I look at you, commander, and I see not a man, but a galaxy of subatomic particles which I can ... rearrange with a casual thought." Ironheart explains that he feels humans aren't ready for these types of powers; but if the Psi-Corps find him and bring him back, they will study him to try to figure out the combination of drugs which caused this phenomenon.
Sinclair, however, asks why he should trust Ironheart over the Psi-Cops. Ironheart explains that if he meant any harm, he could vaporize Sinclair instantly. When Sinclair mentions that Ironheart has already caused harm and destruction on the station, Ironheart explains that the "mind-quake" was an accident. Ironheart claims he never wanted to hurt anyone; however, as his telekinetic powers expand, it takes him a while to learn how to control them. Sinclair mentions the head researcher that Bester said Ironheart killed; Ironheart claims that he didn't want to kill the researcher--but since that researcher was the only one who could duplicate the experiment, he had no choice. "There must never be any more like me," he says earnestly. Ironheart explains that he only wants Sinclair's trust--and a little bit of help. He says that he needs to leave the station so that he can be free to become whatever it is that he's becoming. At length, Sinclair agrees, and arranges with Ivanova and Garibaldi to escort Ironheart off the station to the stolen transport which is docked outside.
Meanwhile, very soon before Sakai's ship would have burned up in the atmosphere of Sigma-957, Sakai's computer detects the arrival of two ships. The ships open a communication channel with her--they explain to her they are Narn vessels dispatched on the order of G'Kar to rescue her in the event that anything strange should happen in Sigma-957. They grapple Sakai's ship and escort it back to Babylon 5.
Bester and Kelsey have meanwhile discovered that Sinclair is attempting to escort Ironheart off of the station. They meet up with Ironheart as he is trying to escape; they attempt to send the fail-safe code, but Ironheart's defenses are too powerful. Ironheart is, however, forced to kill Kelsey in the struggle. He successfully escapes from Bester, then enters his ship and leaves the station.
Bester takes a shot at Ironheart.
Sinclair and Winters, along with Garibaldi and Ivanova, watch Ironheart's ship leave Babylon 5. Shortly after, the station's sensors detect a strong energy surge; suddenly, Ironheart's ship is no longer there, and in its place is a strange configuration of floating energy. The energy entity--the new Jason Ironheart-- speaks with Winters on the bridge. As a parting gesture, he gives her "the only gift I have to give"--suddenly, a bright flow of energy enters Winters's head, knocking her unconscious.
"Goodbye, commander," says Ironheart, "I will see you again in a million years."
Afterwards, Sinclair is speaking with a somewhat-depressed Bester, who complains that his superiors will believe none of what just happened. Sinclair agrees, "Especially since in about an hour, we'll have a small accident in data storage that'll erase the file you just saw." Garibaldi suggests an alternative report: "That Ironheart's ship escaped Babylon 5 but exploded before it could enter the jumpgate." If Bester refuses to use this suggestion in his report, Sinclair threatens that he will make it known how Bester withheld information, put the station in danger, and, through his interference, cause the death of his fellow Psi-Cop. Sinclair also makes Bester promise to have his report indicate that Winters was under Ironheart's control during the incident--and that she was not responsible for her actions during the incident. Bester agrees reluctantly and leaves quietly.
After Bester leaves, Garibaldi asks Sinclair if Sinclair will report to "the senator" (probably the senator with whom Sinclair communicates periodically) what Ironheart accused the Psi-Corps of. Sinclair says that he doesn't think it will do any good--Ironheart was feverish and paranoid, so what he said might not be true. Even if it is true, without Ironheart available to testify, it would just be his word versus that of the Corps. However, they agree to keep their eyes open for anything threatening. Garibaldi then wonders out loud what Ironheart's gift to Winters was. Sinclair comments that he doesn't think she would tell Garibaldi even if he were to ask.
Meanwhile, Winters is in her quarters. She has placed a penny on the table, and when she focuses on it, she finds that he can make it move using only her thoughts....
Catherine Sakai has arrived safely with the help of the Narn ships. She finds G'Kar and thanks him for his help. She asks him, however, why he went to the trouble of rescuing her. "Why not?" he replies. When she comments that that isn't an answer, G'Kar replies, "Oh, yes it is. It's simply not an answer you like or the answer your expected. There's a difference. Narns, humans, Centauri--we all do what we do for the same reason: because it seemed like a good idea at the time. There was no profit--no advantage--in letting you fall to an untimely and most uncomfortable death. It would distress the commander to no good end." She seems to accept this reason, then asks if G'Kar knew what it was that she saw near Sigma-957. He explains that it is a phenomenon which they cannot explain: "There are things in the universe billions of years older than either of our races. They are vast, timeless ... They are a mystery, and I am both terrified and reassured to know that there are still wonders in the universe-- that we have not yet explained everything. Whatever they are, Ms. Sakai, they walk near Sigma-957. They must walk there alone." Catherine only stares in wonder.
Shawn Bayern firstname.lastname@example.org